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Overweight men are more likely to survive an LA car crash

A new study from the University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute found that overweight men who are wearing seat belts are more likely to survive a car crash than skinny men.
 
Researchers analyzed data compiled by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration between 1998 and 2008. They looked at the body mass index of 300,000 drivers who were involved in fatal collisions (accidents in which someone, not necessarily the driver died) during this time. Fifty-one percent of the drivers in the study were killed.  
 
The study found that obese men, those who have a body mass index (BMI) between 35 and 50, are 22% less likely to die in a fatal car crash than men who are underweight and have a  BMI between 15 and 18.4. However, this is only true if they are wearing a seat belt. Obese men who are not wearing a seat belt have a 10% greater risk of dying than underweight men. This may be because higher weights overload the airbags and seat belts help prevent this overload.
 
The study also found that women drivers are slightly more likely to die in a car crash than male drivers; they’re risk was 1.1 times greater. However body mass index did not have as much of an effect on a female driver’s risk of dying in a car crash when seat belted. Women drivers with high and low BMIs had a slightly larger risk of death than those with a normal amount of body fat.
 
The study also noted that for all drivers, those who do not wear seat belts are 2.1 times more likely to die in a car crash than drivers who are restrained by a seat belt.
 
The researchers suggested that the designs of seat belts, air bags, knee restraints, seats and other automobile safety devices may need to be redesigned to safely protect a larger range of drivers.  However, the authors of the study emphasize that all drivers are safer when wearing a seat belt.   
 
It will be interesting to see if future car designs take this safety information into account.
 
The Orange County personal injury attorneys at Allen, Flatt, Ballidis and Leslie represent seriously injured car crash victims throughout Southern California.  If you have been injured in a traffic accident and you have questions about your rights, an insurance settlement or about how to find a lawyer to represent you, contact us at 866-981-5596.

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